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Don’t get discouraged if your healthy living goals have been derailed

So how are you making out with those New Year’s resolutions you made? No doubt there were more than a few drivers that resolved to shed a few pounds, take a daily walk, or cut back on the junk food. If you resolved to adopt a healthier...


So how are you making out with those New Year’s resolutions you made? No doubt there were more than a few drivers that resolved to shed a few pounds, take a daily walk, or cut back on the junk food. If you resolved to adopt a healthier lifestyle then you may be doing all of the above, or at least you intended to do all of the above. It’s not easy.

It’s been over a dozen years now since I started to change how I live on the road and every year I seem to fall off the healthy living bandwagon for a period of time.

That time usually falls during the winter months when the days are cold, daylight is in short supply, and the snow and slop on the roads presents an added obstacle to going for a walk or run. As a result, I would usually pack a few pounds back on in the winter. That’s the way it has been for me. I’ll say it again, it’s not easy.

Last year I was determined to break that cycle of loss and gain. I decided to get a health club membership with a national chain so I could at least get on a piece of cardio equipment a couple of times during the week as I did my regular route. It worked. I still don’t exercise as much during the winter months but I get enough exercise to maintain my conditioning and feed my need to be active. It’s become somewhat of a positive addiction for me now. If I don’t get exercise, I feel downright crappy, not just physically but mentally and emotionally also.

It’s incredibly difficult for drivers to find the motivation to get out and do something physical every day. After being in the seat for 12-plus hours each day, there’s no getting away from that feeling of exhaustion. A meal, a shower, and sleep is what you really crave. It takes a huge effort to pull on your walking shoes and step out the door for a brisk walk when you feel that way at the end of the day.

The irony is that the meal, the shower, and the sleep is so much sweeter if you walk off the day’s stress first.

One of the great advantages that non-drivers have is that they are able to exercise with a friend or as part of a group. This is a great way to stay motivated because you have made a commitment to another person and it adds a little healthy competition to your workout. Changing your eating habits, dieting, and exercise is much easier and much more enjoyable if you are able to share the experience with a friend or group and feed off one another’s success.

There is nothing I enjoy more than trucking for a living. I’m quite certain you wouldn’t be reading this copy of Truck News if you didn’t enjoy it too.

But when you start struggling with health issues resulting from all those years in the seat and you decide to do something about it, you can easily become frustrated by the difficulties you face in making the necessary changes in your life.

Most often you will find that you say to yourself: ‘I just don’t have the time or the energy.’ Finding that motivation within to push yourself out of your comfort zone is very difficult. But it’s worth it.

So I thought for the next few columns, I would share some of the techniques I’ve used over the years to keep myself motivated when it comes to healthy eating and getting a few hours exercise each week.

Making lifestyle changes needs to be for life. The changes you make need to be enjoyable. The changes you make need to address the issues that are feeding the stress and discomfort in your daily life.

As a driver, I don’t believe there is a quick fix to health issues that we may have developed over a lifetime. My own experience bares this out. I’ve already said that every year for the last 12 years I’ve been challenged come wintertime to stay on my program.

What I do believe is that if you have a desire to find that “feel-good” feeling that comes with a healthy body and mind, then it’s never too late to make changes in your life.

If you made one of those New Year’s resolutions that I mentioned at the start of this column and you’ve fallen off the wagon, so what? Climb back on again. Don’t be solely focused on short-term goals and quick-fix solutions (like rapid weight loss).
Instead, picture yourself five or 10 years down the road. Then you can start taking the smaller steps toward a healthier lifestyle that your busy life will allow you the time to take.


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